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Recommended routes in Eldo - low to mid 10's

Original Post
Nick Blankenberger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 35

I am looking for recommended routes in the 10- to 10b range in Eldo to break into the grade on lead.  Whether longer multi-pitch lines that have a single crux pitch at the grade or shorter lines that are more sustained, I would like to get more experience at the grade on gear.  Even routes that have a couple low 5.10 moves and then go easier for the rest of the climb would be great.  Would appreciate any thoughts and recommendations.  Thanks!


RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 65


White Lightning

wendy weiss · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 20

Over the Hill was my first 10 lead ever. That was in 1988 and I don't remember much about it except that I took one short fall, didn't get hurt, and continued on.

Mydans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 70

Blind faith, hand cracker direct, purple haze, darkness till dawn, break on through, positively 4th street (9+)

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 875

Faulty Logic is an overlooked but really good 10a up at Rincon.  Bolts plus gear

(Over the Hill is pretty hard for 10b, IMO)  Maybe TR it after Faulty Logic 

White Lightning

Blind Faith


Break on Through

Andy Nelson · · Fort Collins, Colorado · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 343

5.10 crack at Rincon


mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

agree with most of above... also:

first pitch of rincon

revely hunter at rincon

outer space (some do, but I don't get 10c outta this one, more like 10b is a bit sustained for 2 pitches.)

west buttress of the Bastille, and with direct start is a kick at 10b, run out at 5.8 ish

trice Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

I am leading about the same grade in eldo as well.

I would say that Outer space is another good one to get on. It is pretty easy for .10c in eldo. I would also recommend Diffraction into metamorphosis both at about .10b

West buttress of the bastille is a great .9+ or .10a depending on who you ask. 

Up at cadillac crag Deviant is an awesome .9+ or .10a (also depending on who you ask). I also thought moonlight drive was a pretty easy .10- and not too bad of runouts.

slevin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,003
trice Rice wrote:

I would also recommend Diffraction into metamorphosis both at about .10b

Would not call this is a good "entry level" 5.10a/b due to the runout nature of the climbing.

trice Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

Maybe metamorphosis is a bit run out, but there is plenty of good gear on diffraction. Still a solid .10 route to try out.

butlerbt · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 60

Hey Nick,

I love eldo and I love climbing 5.10s in eldo so I hope I can help. In addition to those already mentioned: 

Yellow spur w/ 5.10 start and 5.10 finish. 

The green spur (first 2 pitches only, easier but a bit spicy and technical) 

Grand Course

Werk Supp to March of Dimes (harder but well protected and short crux) 

Break on Through

Handcraker direct 

Tagger (harder but well protected and very short crux) 

Hair City

West Butt of Bastille

Some of these are a bit harder or a bit easier than 10a/b but they will all provide good mileage to help build your platform of experience so that you can truly be a competent 5.10 eldo climber. Also, I'd agree that you should steer clear of metamorphosis for now, and that Blind Faith is probably the best first 5.10 lead in eldo. 

Mike McHugh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 459


Another thumbs up for Faulty Logic 

It's above the grade but safe: prince of darkness

Anthony · · Northern CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

White lightning and blind Faith, in my opinion, are exceptional entry 5.10's. Handcracker direct and over the hill are a bit more tough but very good in their own right. Xanadu is really good, maybe worthy of a PG or PG13 rating, chockstone has a funky, balancy crux. I'd say once you get a taste of some 5.10 climbing go do werksupp to march of dimes. 

Anthony · · Northern CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Oh yeah! You can also do the green spur, the whole thing cause the third pitch is not to be missed! Then on your way back down hit  darkness 'till dawn. Sick. 

Mydans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 70

I would agree with everything except metamorphosis.  Stout and quite runout. I've been climbing in Eldo a long time and thought that one was pretty scary for the grade.

Dave Holliday · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 1,416

Auburn Lane at Cadillac Crag. It has one brief, well-protected crux.

Grand Course on Redgarden. A little burly through the wide crack down low but the whole route is very well-protected.

plantmandan · · Brighton, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 40

I think the 10s are well covered here. However, I wouldn't call Outer Space a good entry level 5.10. It has ledge fall potential, and belayer communication is difficult, especially when the creek is running high.

Here are some great 5.9 routes in case you haven't done them already:

Perversion, Heavy Weather, Over and Out/Over the Hill linkup. 

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30

Before you get started on Eldo 10, make sure you are solid on placing medium/smallish nuts (BD #3-#7). If you have been going through the 5.9 grade mainly on cams, you might start to find the 10 grade a bit spicy. Cracks tend to thin out and be smaller than your smallest cam, so nuts is the only option. Occasionally, placing a cam would steal the only fingerhold you have, so placing a nut is a lot better. For example, someone mentioned Green Spur (5.9) as spicy, but this is as G-rated as Eldo ever gets if you are comfortable with small/medium nuts. With enough gear, you can climb this line without ever having your feet above the last piece of good gear. Routes where nut placing skills are essential: Chockstone, Xanadu, Morning Thunder (yes, only 9+, but sustained and good practice for getting into 10a).

My comments on what have been said already:

White Lightning, Blind Faith, and Handcracker Direct have the most straightforward gear and climbing you can ever expect in Eldo. First picks to start on. If you run into trouble on those, maybe get back on a few more 5.9 and 9+. 

Over the Hill and Break on Through can be somewhat baffling to climb, but gear is great (if you trust old pins and can handle small nuts). 

Purple Haze is definitely NOT for breaking into the grade. The gear off of the ledge is NOT obvious and can be dicey if you're shorter than 5'10". 

I am occasionally able to "easily cruise" most 10a/10b, but I have never "cruised" Tagger, Outer Space, or Break on Through.

Erickson Finish (a variation on Sooberbs last pitch) is a good choice if you are a strong gym/sport climber (a rare roof problem). Not all gear placements that you see are good as there's questionable rock, but there is great gear in good rock if you look around. 

Trouble and Strife takes good gear. 

Good comment from plantmandan to call out the ledge fall on Outer Space. The very start of the 1st pitch dihedral is a bit cruxy and takes small gear and rope stretch will dump you onto a sloping ledge 

Garrett R. · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 40

No love for Grand Giraffe yet? Bonus points if you have a go at Art's Spar, not easy 5.10, but if well protected if you're feeling strong.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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